I was born in 1962 into a Kansas farm family. The tribe name, "Kansa", means "Wind People". The Native American populations of the Prairie knew the element of wind well. It is a land accurately named.
After Kansas Territory was opened to settlement in the 1850s, the Windmill, a wheel that converts the force of wind into power rose up over the Great Plains. From the life-giving water of a cool drink after a long day's work, to sustaining livestock and crops, windmills became vertical signs of survival on an otherwise often flat landscape.
Our farm had a windmill. It stood in the traditional position by the livestock tank and pens. It was pretty rickety and rusty by the time I came to know it. It had also been supplemented with an electric motor to pump the water from time to time.
The windmill was a destination for me as a little girl. This was especially true when I wanted to go on a grand adventure -100 feet from the house or so.
Sometimes my sister and I would travel together packing our little doll suitcases with doll clothes and bringing the wearers of these frills and frocks for company. We took pains to arrange everything as we sat under the scarce trees near our modest galvanized tower.
Often I traveled alone. I would sit on the fence, or in the cattle shoot itself watching our white horse, Lady, listening to the lowing crying calves recently purchased at auction, marveling at the bulls - imagining and daydreaming the time away.
All the while, there was the accompaniment of the wind, and the metal melody from the windmill.
1,729 miles away in the Willamette Valley farming community of Champoeg, Oregon, a robust "Aermotor" wind wheel, anchored atop an elegant four story Victorian tower, had been turning through four generations of the Zorn Family.
This "Japanese" -style water tower was the inspiration and aspiration of Jerry's great grand-uncles, Casper Zorn and John Hoefer. The 50' structure was built in the early 1880s, and through a 600 gallon redwood water tank on the 4th floor, it provided indoor plumbing to the Zorn Farm House built by the uncles in 1862.
There was also a sophisticated system of shafts and gears within the building that at one time ground grain with the power of the windmill rotation.
A Columbus Day storm blew the wind wheel down in 1962. This powerful and destructive hurricane hit the Pacific Northwest on October 12th of that year; the windstorm and its awful effects are still remembered.
Home movies show Jerry, almost 4, scampering after his siblings, parents, aunts, and uncle surveying the aftermath of the storm here on the Farm, as well as the beginning efforts at clearing and clean up.
There has been a long tradition in this family of saving and repurposing items - from windows and rooms of houses swept apart in the 1861 flood, to depression era butter tubs, to wood and metal equipment - like wind wheels.
And so the tradition continues. A few days ago, we christened Columban Hall with Club Member friends by lighting our "new" chandelier - the repurposed wind wheel. It was wonderful to have friends old and new with us to mark the day.
Getting to this point has been a lot like the Kansas State Motto: "To the Stars Through Difficulty". Earlier in the week, Abel, (his name fits him perfectly) and I installed "stars" on the Hall cupola ceiling before hanging the chandelier. For us, it's an illuminated way of reminding us of all manner of life's adversities, and the value of pursuing the path through.
Jerry's growth and agricultural iterations here on the farm since that time he was four and following others have been varied, yet integrated. They have included raising black angus cattle, sheep, chickens, nursery stock, grass seed, organic vegetables, and what he likes to call his experience of "ultimate farming"; viticulture.
We see wine as a basic element. From vine, to bottle, to glass; making wines that delight lifts our hearts as we lift glasses together over the storms and joys in this life. For us, and we hope others, it pushes against the darkness; our Toast and call to Ad Lucem. (to the Light).
These are our memories. It has been so rich and pleasing to hear members and others visiting The Hall recount their own. Where they were and what the effects and impact the storm had on them, their family, friends, farms, and neighborhoods has filled this gathering space with so much story.
We look forward to making and gathering more memories, more stories - all over more good wine.
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 1 - 4 pm
True Northwest Wine Club Members, you are invited to join us for a special afternoon at Columban Hall. We will pour the new release wines so you can taste through your Fall Shipment and pick-up your allotment. We look forward to being in the company of our Lady Hill family and friends when we fill the Hall with light from our newly installed chandelier.
An agrarian magister to Lady Hill proprietors, Elaine and Jerry Owen, Wendell Berry was the inspiration for the family to start converting ground to Organic 15 years ago. He continues to poetically inspire us as we strive to steward this piece of earth into the next generation. Hosting one of the only community screenings of Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry, in the Pacific Northwest, we are now even more inspired to move our legacy forward in a meaningful way.
LOOK & SEE: A CINEMATIC PORTRAIT OF WRITER, FARMER AND ACTIVIST WENDELL BERRY TO SCREEN AT LADY HILL WINERY
Lady Hill Winery is hosting a screening of the award-winning Sundance documentary LOOK & SEE, a powerful cinematic portrait of Wendell Berry—farmer, activist, and undoubtedly one of America’s most significant living writers. The film will be screened on August 25, 2017 at 8400 Champoeg Rd NE, St. Paul, OR 97137.
In 1965, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, where he bought a small farmhouse and began a life of farming, writing and teaching. This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half century later Henry County, like many rural communities across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness to place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt - all of which have frayed the fabric of rural communities. Writing from a long wooden desk beneath a forty-paned window, Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one its most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.
Often called “a prophet for rural America,” Berry has long been a voice for the communities that are so often overlooked by the media. Filmmaker Laura Dunn skillfully weaves Berry’s poetic and prescient words with gorgeous cinematography and the testimonies of his family and neighbors, all of whom are being deeply affected by the industrial and economic changes to their agrarian way of life. “It’s a conversation that is more urgent now than ever, as we find ourselves in a deeply divided nation where urban consumers remain so completely disconnected from the rural producers whose work sustains their very lives,” says director Laura Dunn. “Wendell shows us with extraordinary sensitivity, just what fidelity to a place and to one's own community can truly mean.”
Robert Redford, Terrence Malick, and Nick Offerman served as producers on LOOK & SEE, which, following its award-winning 2016 premiere at the SXSW Film Festival, was retitled, updated to reflect the conversations that have emerged since the election, and re-released at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Director Dunn was awarded the IFC “Truer than Fiction” Independent Spirit Award for her previous film, The Unforeseen, which was also executive produced by Redford and Malick. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and was broadcast on the Sundance Channel.
Join the food, agricultural, and literary community for this special one-time screening on the farm at Lady Hill Winery, across the road from Champoeg State Park. Bring a blanket and a picnic if you like. We'll have wine by the glass or bottle available.
Friday, August 25, 2017. Doors open at 7pm. Screening begins at sunset.
Lady Hill Winery, 8400 Champoeg Rd NE, St. Paul, OR 97137
Tickets are $12 per person. Order here:
For more information and to view the trailer, visit: http://www.lookandseefilm.com
Indoors or out, we gather at Columban Hall. This past August, we were blessed to host Minister of Wine and Maestro of Voice, Marcus Hanson, as he performed an aria in the open air on the South Patio.
What can you expect if you view the 2017 Solar Eclipse at Lady Hill?
At 10:18 am, approximately 10 seconds of totality. During the partial eclipse from 9:05 am - 11:38 am, expect a beautiful show of crescent shaped shadows filtering through the trees.
Sunrise that morning will be at 6:21 am. Our Columban Hall tasting room is the building just east of Sineann, where the marker is on the map below. Standing outside, looking south, you view the fields of the farm and the path of the sun. The gold line from the marker indicates the direction we'll look to the sun at the time of the eclipse - 10:18 am.
Reserve a spot at our Return to the Light Viewing and Brunch and join us for a toast to totality!
Dear Local Food and Drink Friends,
Elaine and I wanted to get the word out to the community about a film, a "portrait" of Wendell Berry, that we will be hosting at our winery located on my family's 6th generation farm near St Paul.
I have heard Berry speak, and have been listening to his quiet, sane voice since I was a college student in the '70s. Some of my friends visited him on his Kentucky farm back then as well. He has been an agrarian magister to both Elaine and me and was the inspiration for us to start converting ground to Organic 15 years ago. He continues to poetically inspire us as we strive to steward this piece of earth into the next generation.
We are stoked to have the opportunity to share this screening; please feel free to pass on to other eaters, readers, drinkers, and thinkers! Tickets here.
Jerry and Elaine Owen
Our Web-only Offer for Aug 2 - Aug 9, 2017
Clear out the cellar for Crush!
Did you restock your summer collection with 2015 Sonnenblume?
As we mentioned last week, harvest is coming and we like to celebrate. It’s our favorite time of year as the grapes roll onto the crush pad and the farm is in full production. In preparing the winery for the influx of equipment and fruit (and farm fresh veggies too!), we’d like to make a bit more room. AND, we just launched our new website and store and we need your help to test things out.
Friends and family of Lady Hill, this is an opportunity!
Rhône wines fit a niche for those who love rich fruit and complexity but are looking for a soft tannin structure.
This week only, purchase a case of our everyday, end of day delight, Elaina red blend, and explore the realm of the Rhône. $300 Per case (shipping included) or $250 per case if you pick-up. We are allocating only 30 cases for this offer. Shipping customers use coupon code: WOWShipping at checkout.
2014 Ad Lucem Elaina Red
Classic aromas of blackberry, with hints of white pepper, orange rind and barrel spice. On the palate, this wine is juicy with layers of berry and floral notes with a soft velvety tannin structure. Pair it with braises, stews, or shepherd’s pie. Want to know more? Dive in…
Offer: 2014 Ad Lucem Elaina Red
This Week Only Price: $300 incl. Shipping, $250 pick-up ($20.83 per bottle!)
Expires: August 9, 2017 or when the 30 cases are gone.
Our Web-only Offer for July 26 - Aug 2, 2017
Clear out the cellar for Crush!
Harvest is coming and we like to celebrate. It’s our favorite time of year as the grapes roll onto the crush pad and the farm is in full production. As we prepare the winery for the influx of equipment and fruit, we’d like to make a bit more room. AND, we just launched our new website and store and we need your help to test things out.
Friends and family of Lady Hill, this is an opportunity!
Latin for “into the light” the Ad Lucem label represents a new beginning, an opportunity to discover new delights. Ad Lucem wines invite you to explore the realm of the Rhône through small-lot wines that deliver True Northwest character from traditional Rhône grapes.
This week only, purchase a case of our refreshing summer sipper, the Rhône-inspired white blend Ad Lucem Sonnenblume for $325 per case (shipping included) or $275 per case if you pick-up at Columban Hall. We are allocating only 30 cases for this offer. Shipping customers use coupon code: WOWShipping at checkout.
2015 Ad Lucem Sonnenblume
A harmonious composition of 51% Viognier and 49% Roussanne; 100% Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain. The rich creamy texture of warm climate Roussanne is cut like a razor with the vibrant acids of the Viognier. Due to the nature of the Roussanne varietal and its acidic balance, anticipate this wine to oxidize and age into a leesy, nutty masterpiece of dried flowers and tangerine rind. Drink this wine young (w/n the next 3-5 years) and pair it with rich shellfish such as scallops or crab and lobster, and root veggies in butter. Want to know more? Dive in…
Offer: 2015 Ad Lucem Sonnenblume
This Week Only Price: $325 incl. Shipping, $275 pick-up ($22.92 per bottle!)
Expires: August 2, 2017 or when the 30 cases are gone.